Saturday, April 28, 2012

Laying Up Treasure in Heaven

When we talk of treasure, what usually comes to our mind is money, silver and gold, and other valuables like lands, houses, cars, etc.

The Apostle Paul said, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 15:50) and Job said, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither” (Job 1:21 KJV). The Bible teaches us, “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out” (1 Tim. 6:7 KJV). Obviously and indisputably, there is nothing material or anything of this world that could be brought by anyone who goes to heaven. Even the Lord Jesus Christ did not ascend to heaven until his body was changed into an incorruptible and glorified body upon his resurrection (Acts 1:9).

What then is the treasure being referred to by Jesus Christ when he taught his disciples saying “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt. 6:20, 21), since no material or earthly thing can enter heaven? This means that all the material things that we possess and accumulate while we live on earth will be left behind.

There are those for whom Jesus Christ died in the cross of Calvary who are absorbed in providing themselves with temporal or material things that will remain on earth. At the same time they are neglecting the preparation of character which would fit them for an abode in the mansions which Jesus Christ has prepared for them (John 14:1-3) and whose precious souls he redeemed or purchased at an infinite price by the shedding of his blood or ransom by his own life (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Jesus said, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all things you have need of shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6:33). Jesus, who has paid the ransom for the souls of his human creation, requires that they shall subordinate temporal or material interests to the heavenly interests. He would have them cease to indulge in hoarding up earthly treasures, in spending money upon luxuries, and in surrounding themselves with those things which are not really needed, or are more than needed in this earthly life.

By choosing to lay up treasure in heaven, our character will be molded after the likeness of Christ. The world will see that our hopes and plans are made in reference to the advancement of the truth and the salvation of perishing souls.

In securing treasure in heaven, we place ourselves in living connection with God, who owns all the treasures of the earth and supplies all material things or temporal matters that are essential for life.

Every soul may and has the opportunity to secure the inheritance of eternal life in heaven. It is the highest wisdom to live in such a way as to secure eternal life. This may be done by not living in the world for ourselves but by living for God, by passing our resources on to a world where it will never perish. By using our resources which include time, treasure and talent, to advance the cause of God, our uncertain riches are placed in an unfailing bank. Every sacrifice made for the purpose of blessing or helping others, every appropriation of means for the service of God, leading to the salvation of soul, will be treasure laid up in heaven. The souls brought to the Kingdom of God are considered “treasures” of God in heaven. To bring souls to the kingdom of God requires hard work and financial self-sacrifices. Thus, if one give to the needy or for the advancement of the gospel say P37,000.00, how many liters of gasoline or tanks of Gasul (LPG) that money could buy for the benefactor? This is self-sacrifice. On the other hand, the beneficiary will experience unspeakable joy, and this may yet be a bridge to ones finding eternal life in heaven through faith in Christ Jesus.

This is the reason why in the book of proverbs, it is said, “… give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs. For if I grow rich, I may deny you and say, “who is the Lord?” And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name” (Prov. 30:8-9 NLT). Stated otherwise, it is better to be a blessing than hoard riches which will be left behind after all. “Blessed is he that considereth the poor, the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble” (Ps. 41:1 KJV). And then, we are admonished, “Don’t weary yourself trying to get rich, why waste your time? For riches can disappear as though they had the wings of a bird!” (Prov. 23:4 NLT).

To God, the most important are the souls of men. To save souls, he volunteered to have his son shed his precious blood in the cross of calvary to atone or cover the sins of the sinner. Indeed, a supreme sacrifice of life for life. “He gave his life as ransom (redemption) for many (those who believe on His Son and accept Him as their only Savior, and willing to, and do, confess their sins (Isa. 53:12). There is no exception. This is the only way to heaven! Thus, the Psalmist David said, “… there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Ps. 53:3 KJV). No matter how good a person is, he cannot be good enough to qualify for heaven without believing, accepting Jesus Christ by faith as his only savior, and no one else (as He is the only way) and, of course, must confess his sins (1 John 1:9). No one can save himself! It is clear that, “God saved you by his special favor when you believed, and you can’t take credit for this; it is the gift of God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it” (Eph. 2:8-9 NLT).

Many years in the past, I evangelized my own older brother, Benjamin. I invited him to attend my Sunday School class in our church. To make my invitation attractive, after the service, I invited him to eat lunch in my home which is nearer to the Church than the parsonage. I saw to it that he was served his favorite menu. I really do not know if what interested him to attend Sunday School class from Sunday to Sunday henceforth were the lessons he learned or he attended expecting that afterwards he would partake of a sumptuous lunch. It could be both. I would then study harder and teach as best as I could being conscious that my own brother in the flesh was in my class. Consequently, for six consecutive years and many years thereafter (Praise God!), I was awarded the accolade “Best Sunday School Teacher of the Year” and my prize was a trip with my wife to the U.SA., to be the guest of honor and speaker of the Filipino-U.S. Family Camp in Sonora, California. I was also itinerized to speak in California churches for a month. On that same trip, I had the privilege of meeting personally Demos Shakarian, the founder of Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship Int’l. (FGBMFI) in his own house, having been brought there by then FGBMFI Global Manager, Jun Pascua, a Filipino and my kababata from Kapalong, Davao del Norte. That was the time he was just deposed as President of FGBMFI. When I was introduced to him as the President of FGBMFI, Davao City, Philippines, Demos cried like a baby, and asked me, “Brother, can you please pray for me?” I was then relatively young as a Christian, so you can just imagine my nervousness in praying for our founder such that I can no longer remember today what I said. But miraculously, not because of my prayer may be, he was restored to his presidency until his demise. To God be the glory!

Later on, my brother who was converted by the Holy Spirit, asked for a Bible from me. When someone ask for a bible, this is a strong indication of genuine conversion. I gave him a Thompson Chain Reference Bible, then the most expensive Bible in Davao City. He attended Sunday School and our church services religiously, and I noticed the transformation in his life. When he passed away, I was at his bedside, I had the privilege to say automatically, “Lord, into your hands I commend his spirit”, quoting one of the utterances of the Lord Jesus in the cross of Calvary. This was the only occasion that someone passed away in my presence. I am sure, his spirit is now with the Lord. If I reach to heaven myself, and I hope so, at least I am sure of a treasure waiting for me. Notice that I had to devote time, efforts and spend money for lunch and buy for him an expensive Bible. Thus, evangelism requires time, effort and money which are only earthly treasures. What counts is the resulting treasure – the saved soul – a treasure in heaven.

Souls are the only treasure that can be laid up in heaven, nothing else. Let us strive to lay up treasures in heaven. (FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, April 28, 2012)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

God Gives Us Talent For A Purpose

The term talent during the time that Jesus Christ was on Earth personally ministering was used then for a unit of weight (about 75 pounds), which was also a unit of coinage. This was what the Lord Jesus was referring to when he narrated the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30.

In the parable, “he gave five talents of money – to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability” (vs. 15). The one who received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. But the man who received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money. When their master returned after a long time, each was called to account for what they have done to the talents they received. The two who gained by trading the money were given a certificate of appreciation reading, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; come and share your master’s happiness” (vs. 23) On the other hand, the one who received only one talent reported, ‘Master, I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed, so I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground”. Stated differently, he did not trade or use the talent given to him. See, he said to his master, “here is what belongs to you” (vs. 24-25). His master replied to him, saying, “You wicked, lazy servant!” The servant was reprimanded, “You should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest” (vs. 26-27). The talent was taken from him and given to the one who traded the talents and gained ten talents (vs. 28). It is God’s will that we have to use or invest, or exercise the talent He has given to us according to the best of our ability.

The Lord has given talents to men, that they may be better able to honor and glorify Him. To some He has entrusted wealth like the patriarch of old, Abraham who was wealthy in livestock and in silver and gold (Gen. 13:2); to others, special qualifications for service like administration or leadership or stewardship of kingdom funds and properties; some the ability to preach and teach with good voice; to others, extraordinary wisdom like Solomon; some tact and influence; some with literary talent like the Apostle Paul who authored thirteen books of the New Testament, and so on and so forth. Some have five talents, others two, and others one. From the highest to the lowest each has been entrusted with some gift. These talents are not our own. They belong to God. He has given them to us for conscientious use, and He will one day ask for an account of them.

The great lesson we are daily to learn is that we are stewards of God’s gifts – stewards of money, of reason, of intellect, of influence. As stewards of the Lord’s gifts, we are to trade upon or use, or exercise these talents, however small they may be.

However small our talent may appear, we are to use it to the best of our ability in God’s service, for He has need of it. Thus, he has given to his disciples the Great Commission to preach and teach the gospel to all nations (Matt. 28:19-20); and to every creature (Mark 15:15). If it is wisely and conscientiously used, we can bring to the kingdom of God one soul who also will dedicate his or her powers to the Master’s service. That soul may win other souls, and thus one talent, faithfully used, may gain many souls.

This is how diligent, dedicated and honest professionals like doctors, lawyers, engineers, etc. will acquire a large circle of patients or clientele. One healed patient or satisfied client will tell a relative and a friend; that relative and friend will tell also his relative and friend, and so on and so forth. In other words, the principle of networking.

The networker has to move and work with patience, diligence and honesty, and render superb service to his clientele. The least is to serve coffee or give cold water. The more industrious he is and the harder he works with honesty, the more will be in his net. There is no substitute for hardwork, diligence and honesty. “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth” (Prov. 10:4 NIV). Solomon said, “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man” (Prov. 6:10-11 NIV). He further said: “Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean (unknown) men” (Prov. 22:29 KJV).

This is my personal experience. I did my best as a diligent and honest Corporate Secretary of the Davao City Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCCII) for several years. Time came when I got promoted by a vote of confidence to be President for two years and Chairman of the Board for a year. When I was President, I dined at Marco Polo Hotel with President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and with U.S. Ambassador Richardoni, and in 2006, headed a delegation of nineteen Chamber DCCCII members to Australia sponsored by the Australian government, for two weeks, which included our former FGBMFI Vice President Antonio “Tony” dela Cruz, with everything free from plane fare to hotel accommodation, and with per diem of A$39 per day.

The latest significant person that I dined with was Vice President Jejomar Binay when he was our guest of honor in the DCCCII. I was then the Chairman of the Board. As he entered the function Hall at Marco Polo Hotel at 12:05 noon, I announced, “let us welcome our second highest official in our land … then he immediately proceeded to deliver his speech. This was so far the shortest introduction of a guest of honor I ever made in my whole lifetime. After his speech, the EMCEE asked me, what shall we do with our program? I told her, never mind, disregard it. Let us eat. Then it was time for the closing remarks. We ate at about 12:45 noon.

If we use the money or talent entrusted to us by God to expand His kingdom, we will receive a certificate of appreciation from Him, and gain more money and improve our God-given talents. The talent is not necessarily money but spiritual gifts, like the ability to testify very interestingly or in writing which in the end will bless others and thereby receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. Let us remember that “we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor. 3:9), and this is the reason He has given us some talents, may be five, two or only one.

The Lord will use all who will give themselves to be used. But He requires heart service. When the heart is given to God, our talents, our energy, our possessions, all we have and are, will be devoted to His service with gladness. To serve the King of Kings is the best achievement in life. (FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, April 21, 2012)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Will All Be Saved?

There is a teaching called “Universalism” that declares that in the end God will save every human being who has ever lived, including all notorious criminals like King Herod who murdered all children below two years old, believing that by doing so, the baby Jesus will be eliminated as his rival; Nero of old Rome who mercilessly executed the Christians; Adolf Hitler of Germany who executed six thousand Jews in a gas chamber; Saddam Hussein of Iraq who executed his detractors; Osama bin Laden, of the Middle East who allegedly masterminded the 9-11 US tragedy in New York, etc. and all the readers of this article and myself. Everyone gets saved in the end!

Who is the human Father who would not long for every child of his to be saved in the end? How many times have we listened as heartbroken parents anguished over wrong choices of our children? Is there a parent in this world who would not do almost anything to make sure their child was saved in the end? Was this not the reason why Senator Hubert Webb was no longer re-elected and never won any election afterwards? At any rate, Webb was victorious humanly speaking, because his son was acquitted by the Supreme Court after sixteen years of detention. God surely knows that longing. And God is more than that concerned to his human creations whom the Scriptures say he loved so much that he sent his only begotten Son to be their Savior, by his sacrificial and substitutionary death in the cross of calvary. Now every sinner is acquitted if he believes God and His only begotten Son as his savior up to his last breath.

The great Apostle Paul writing to his spiritual son, Young Pastor Timothy said, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. x x x This is good and pleases God our Savior, for he wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4 NLT). Additionally, he said, “This is trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe (1 Tim 4:9-10 NIV). “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11, NIV). “Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth, for I am God, and there is no other!” said Isaiah, the Prince of all prophets and the prophet of salvation (Isa. 45:22). “For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all” said Paul, the appointed Apostle to the Gentiles [non-Jews] (2 Cor. 5:14). Finally, said Peter, called the “Rock” by Jesus Christ, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise… He is patient with you, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9), and thus be saved. Notice the repetition of the word all.

In the science of Pedagogy (education) repetition is emphasis of a very important doctrine or command or learning. This is also the principle of advertisement. In all prominent places, you see or read about a product being advertised. In TV programs, advertisers cut the drama repeatedly at an exciting moment, and while the viewer waits for the continuation of the episode, a product is advertised. The viewer, whether he likes it or not, will see or read or view the advertisement. This is the business in which our brother Cris Arrieta has become a multi-millionaire as evidenced by one of the best commercial building in a main thoroughfare of Davao City that God enabled him to build.

It is clear that God universally desires that all of His earthly children might come to Him, that all might take their place among His chosen ones.

Someone pertinently asked: What about the non-Christians or those who have not known God or Jesus Christ as the only way to the Father in heaven - - the Savior of the world? (John 14:6).

Before answering the query, it is worth reviewing the purpose of God, through his Son Jesus Christ, in giving to his disciples the great commandment. After they were trained by Jesus for three years day and night, he told them: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world” (Matt. 28:18-20 KJV). This is the job description of all disciples. Believers are the modern day disciples of Jesus Christ to teach and preach the good news of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. Whosoever believes or wills – or accepts him as his savior shall be saved. Those who refuse, sorry na lang. This is the sad answer to the query. FGBMFI members are trained modern day disciples.

I thank God that our Brother former Davao City Councilor Peter LaviƱa got for me a blog in the internet. God bless you Pete. Our brother Anthony Relatado, our energetic and gifted FGBMFI Davao Chapter Saturday Bulletin Editor said “they want that my column will be read not only in our Chapter but all over the Philippines and all over the world”! Praise God, that makes me a disciple somehow fulfilling the great commandment of spreading the good news! This is the ministry of our FGBMFI chapters done through our personal testimonies. Remember, we are the walking Bible or good news, are we?

While the Bible teaches salvation’s universal provision, it does not suggest salvation’s universal acceptance. God loves all and is willing to extend salvation to all who repent of their sins, but not all by choice accept his gift of salvation. Therefore, the entire human race cannot be saved. This is the reason for the existence of heaven and hell.

Sorry, the canonized Bible does not teach a middle or intermediate place between heaven and hell. That is to say, when we pass away from this world, our spirit will either go to heaven or to hell. The canonized Bible means 39 books in the Old Testament and 27 books in the New Testament, or a total of only 66 books. Why are the 66 books canonized? Because they passed the test of the canonizing Fathers of the Bible (the Old Testament sometime in 300 BC, the New Testament sometime in 50-100 AD). What standard were used by the canonizing Fathers? The book must have been quoted by the Lord Jesus Christ when he was on earth ministering like the Psalms and the Prophets; the book must have an author who must be an Apostle of Christ or very close to an apostle like the Gospel writers, Matthew, Mark and Luke, or are prophets like Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, etc., whose names are mentioned by the Lord Jesus in his teachings and discourses. The Apocryphal books like Tobias, Seriach, etc. (6 of them) have no authors and were never mentioned by the Lord Jesus Christ in his teachings. Hence, they did not pass the cannon test. So, beware at your own risk, when the doctrine or practice is not found in the canonized Bible.

The story of Lazarus and the rich man in the Bible told by Jesus Christ himself supports this doctrine. The story goes:

Jesus said, “There was a certain rich man who was splendidly clothed in purple and fine linen and who lived each day in luxury.  At his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus who was covered with sores.  As Lazarus lay there longing for scraps from the rich man’s table, the dogs would come and lick his open sores.
 Finally, the poor man died and was carried by the angels to be with Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,  and his soul went to the place of the dead. There, in torment, he saw Abraham in the far distance with Lazarus at his side.

The rich man shouted, ‘Father Abraham, have some pity! Send Lazarus over here to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue. I am in anguish in these flames.’

But Abraham said to him, ‘Son, remember that during your lifetime you had everything you wanted, and Lazarus had nothing. So now he is here being comforted, and you are in anguish.  And besides, there is a great chasm separating us. No one can cross over to you from here, and no one can cross over to us from there.’

Then the rich man said, ‘Please, Father Abraham, at least send him to my father’s home.  For I have five brothers, and I want him to warn them so they don’t end up in this place of torment.’

But Abraham said, ‘Moses and the prophets have warned them. Your brothers can read what they wrote.

The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham! But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will repent of their sins and turn to God.’

But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even if someone rises from the dead.’”(Luke 16:19-31 NLT)

Let us remember that Jesus Christ does not teach anything for nothing. He does not waste words or time. Every word or moment is important to him.

God values our freedom of choice so much that he does not force anyone to choose Him and thus be saved. And the choice must be made by us during our lifetime, not after death. No one, according to the story related by Jesus, can intercede for the salvation of our soul when we have passed to death. Solomon said, “The living at least know they will die, but the dead know nothing. They have no further reward, nor are they remembered.  Whatever they did in their lifetime—loving, hating, envying—is all long gone. They no longer play a part in anything here on earth. (Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 NLT).

Love, in order to be truly love, must be a matter of free choice and voluntary. Solomon said, “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it” (Solomon’s Song 8:7 KJV). In Cebuano and Chavacano version, “Mapungan pa ang baha, nunca ang gugma”. This is the characteristics of a truly in love person. No one can control it: it is beyond the control of man. No husband or wife or parent or anybody can prevent someone to worship or to serve Jesus Christ. Human love, however, unfortunately can wane and be lost entirely for one reason or another. And God will not fill heaven with people who, by personal choice, don’t want to be there, or have lost their love or trust for God for any reason whatsoever. This is the reason for broken hearts and relations. This is true to husband and wife particularly who end up in divorce.

But most, if not all of us, who believe that there is a loving God despite our shortcomings (we fall short of the glory of God) want to be in heaven which, as described in the Bible, is a peaceful and wonderful place beyond description in words (Rev. 21:1-27; Rev. 22:1-6). The only requisite is ACCEPT his gift of salvation, CONFESS our SINS and be BORN again like Nicodemus of the Bible up to our last breath (John 3:1-21). And the everlasting gospel declares that God has done everything divinely and humanly possible to make certain that those who accept Him (Jesus Christ his only begotten Son) as Lord and Savior and who repents will be with him in the most wonderful place - - Heaven, the true believer’s ultimate abode. The choice is ours to make without compulsion from God. This means one must truly love God “with all his heart, soul, mind and strength” (Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37; Mark 12:30).

A story is told about a wise old man and a wise boy. The boy tested the wisdom of the old man. Holding a small bird in his hand, the boy said, “Old man, tell me whether the bird in my hand is alive or dead.” The old man paused a while and thought: if I say it is alive, he will crush the bird; if I say it is dead, he will release the bird. The wise old man said: “It all depends on you”. Obviously, the old man is wiser than the young boy. Solomon said, “The glory of the young is their strength; the gray hair of experience is the splendor of the old” (Prov. 20:29 NLT). He also said, “Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained by living a godly life” (Prov. 16:31 NLT). So is our freedom to choose between heaven or hell. Remember there is no intermediate place to standby: we are either destined to heaven or to hell. Our faith in Jesus Christ is the answer. And the crux of the answer is found in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. (FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin, April 14, 2012)

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Blood of Jesus Christ Cleanses Us From All Sin

The Scriptures tell us that, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23 KJV) and “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23 KJV).

How do we attain eternal life? The Bible answers: “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (vs. 24). Justified means, “just as if” the sinner has not sinned at all. Redemption means “somebody buys the sinner back from the kingdom of the devil”. By whom and how? By Jesus Christ (vs. 24) “whom God (the Father) hath set forth to be a propitiation (or payment) through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission (cancellation) of sins that are past, through the forbearance (forgiveness) of God” (vs. 25).

How does a sinner attain this righteousness for the remission of his sins? The answer is, “For he (God the Father) hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [Jesus Christ] (2 Cor. 5:21 KJV). This is the scriptural law on substitution. Meaning, Jesus Christ is the substitute for the sinner-believer. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter 2:24 NIV).

Only Jesus was perfect, and that is why He could pay the price of our sins and take our punishment so that God could forgive us. Jesus fulfilled the Law and its requirement of death to the sinners. He died in our place so that we would not have to die. He voluntarily gave Himself to be crucified – He loves us that much! No one else has that kind of love - - voluntarily dying for someone. Neither Jose Rizal, our National hero, nor Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. voluntarily died. It was not their choice to die. They were “forced” to die, or even murdered!

What caused Jesus the greatest agony on the cross was not our sins, because He knew that we were going to be forgiven and saved by his substitutionary death. What broke His heart was his thought at the moment of his death that His Father had turned His back on Him. He went through an experience that, thank God, we will never have to go through – not just crucifixion, not just the agony of the body, but the agony of mind and spirit, feeling that God had actually deserted Him. “My God, My God,” He cried out, “why have You forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46). This proves that he was also a perfect human being. Had God forsaken Him? Yes, momentarily only, that He might die the death of a sinner, without God. His resurrection after three days as predicted by him is proof that he was also perfectly divine.

Jesus loved us more than we can imagine to give His own life for us and take the punishment of our sins upon Himself on that cross, so that we could be forgiven and be saved (Romans 5:8; 1 John 4:10). He abolished the death penalty or penalty for any sin for that matter by his substitutionary death. That is why, there is no more penalty for big or small sin. All sins are forgiven for the true believer and who continues to his last breath to be so. Only believe and act accordingly and you shall be saved. There is a beautiful example in the Bible regarding salvation by believing.

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”

The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his family were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole family.” (Acts. 16:25-34 NIV)

The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7)

Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin (Lev. 17:11). That was the Law, and that is why Jesus died for us sinners.

Jesus died on God’s altar, the cross, believed upon by every Christian, trusted by every son and daughter of God who believes through faith in Jesus Christ for their salvation. Jesus was the ultimate sacrifice for sin. He was the ultimate Lamb of God, slain for the remission of our sins. He took the punishment of our sins in His own body on the cross, and that was the last sacrifice of blood for sin as far as God was concerned. That is why we, believers under the New Testament, no longer offer the sacrifice of blood of animals. The blood of Jesus Christ is more than sufficient or more than enough, there is no need for other kinds of blood to be shed. We do not have to die physically by crucifixion because Jesus Christ substituted for the believers by faith.

Our salvation is a gift from God (Eph. 2:8), but it cost God the Father and his only begotten Son, Jesus very dearly. That was the highest price anybody could have paid for our salvation, and only Jesus could do it because he is sinless. No matter how much we sacrifice and try to pay for salvation by our own good works, it is impossible; the price is too high! Significantly, the Bible tells us that, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast” (Eph. 2:8-9 NIV). However, take note that the Bible tells us also that “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Eph. 2:10 NIV). This simply means that a true believer will do good works according to the talent that God has bestowed upon him. Any work in the Kingdom of God though how it may seem insignificant basta work well done is a good work!

Only the blood or life of a sinless one can pay or redeem us. God did not spare His own Son, Jesus Christ, but delivered him up and let Him die on the cross as our substitute (Rom. 8:32), and because “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him shall not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). (FGBMFI Davao City Chapter Bulletin April 7, 2012)